River Trent

The navigable river Trent runs from Wilden Ferry (Shardlow) to the Yorkshire Ouse and Humber Estuary at Trent Falls.  There are connections to the Trent & Mersey Canal (at Derwent Mouth), the River Soar Navigation (at Trent Junction), the Erewash Canal (also at Trent Junction), the Fossdyke Navigation (at Torksey), the Chesterfield Canal (at West Stockwith), the river Idle (also at West Stockwith) and the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation (at Keadby).  The river is tidal below Cromwell Lock.  The river is 94.8 miles (151.6 km) long and has 11 locks.  The Navigation includes a section of the Nottingham Canal and Beeston Cut.

The maximum boat size that can navigate the full River Trent is
length: 79' 9" (24.3 metres) - Castle Lock
beam: 15' 2" (4.62 metres) - Castle Lock
height: 8' 0" (2.44 metres) - Chain Lane / London Road Bridge
draught: 4' 0" (1.22 metres) - cill of Castle Lock

The locks below Nottingham are at least 145ft (44m) long and 18ft (5.6m) wide. Watch out for large sand, gravel and oil barges.  The locks are manned at busy times but, can be operated by the user.  There may be separate landing places for commercial & leisure craft.  Entry and exit are controlled by traffic lights as follows:

  • “Red”.  Stop and hold at the jetty. The lock is in use or “closed to traffic”.
  • “Red and Green”.  The lock is being prepared.
  • “Green”.  You may enter the lock.
  • “Amber”.  The lock is not manned. User operation is permitted.

Each gate, and its paddles, is controlled from its adjacent console.  They are “powered up” by inserting a Sanitary Station Key.  An interlock prevents miss-operation.  Detailed instructions are displayed at each console.

The tidal Trent is not recommended to inexperienced Skippers.  The normal transit for the experienced is between Cromwell Lock and Keadby Lock via Torksey.  Cromwell and Keadby locks are manned during daylight tides.  It is recommended that transit is with the tide.  The majority of skippers opt for a 2-day transit, stopping off in the cut below Torksey Lock.  There are holding pontoons just below the lock.

Transit of the Trent below Keadby to its confluence with the Yorkshire Ouse, needs full VHF equipment and clearance from Associated British Ports.



IWA Branches

Lincolnshire Branch – East Bank, Trent Falls to tail of Cromwell Lock
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Branch – tail of Cromwell Lock to Shardlow
South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch - West Bank, Trent Falls to tail of Cromwell Lock

Navigation Authority

(upstream of Gainsborough)
Canal & River Trust
Head Office
First Floor North
Station House
500 Elder Gate
Milton Keynes, MK9 1BB

T: 0303 040 4040
Canal & River Trust website

(downstream of Gainsborough)
Associated British Ports
PO Box 1, Port House, Northern Gateway, Hull, HU9 5PQ
T: 01482 327171
VHF: Ch 16 and 74
Associated British Ports website

Navigation Charts

Navigation Charts for the River Trent are available at The Boating Association website.